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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BD REVIEW: Slumdog Millionaire

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw


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Posted April 15 2009 - 10:20 PM

Blu-ray Disc Review


Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (Searchlight)
Film Year: 2008
Film Length: 121 minutes
Genre: Drama

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Colour/B&W: Colour

BD Specifications:
Resolution: 1080/24p
Video Codec: AVC @ 28MBPS
Disc Size: BD-50

  • English DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
  • French Dolby 5.1 Surround

    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
    Film Rating: R

  • Release Date: March 31, 2009

    Rating: /

    Starring: Dev Patel (Jamal K. Malik), Anil Kapoor (Prem Kumar), Saurabh Shukla (Sergeant Srinivas), Freida Pinto (Latika), Madhur Mittal (Older Salim), Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail (Youngest Salim), Ayush Mahesh Khedekar (Youngest Jamal)

    Screenplay by: Simon Beaufoy
    Directed by: Danny Boyle

    Love and money… You have mixed them both.

    Taking home best picture at the Oscars and winner of four Golden Globe Awards, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young boy from Mumbai, who is raised in the slums and yet finds himself winning each level on the Indian game show of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. How does an uneducated boy from the slums know the answers to these questions? For Jamal, the answer is life experience.

    The film answers these questions for us using lengthy flashbacks as he’s being questioned in the police station. He’s being held there because several people believe he is cheating for the money, but as the questioning session unfolds, Jamal explains how he knows these answers. It’s an interesting look into the youth of the boy, the experiences growing up, and director Danny Boyle has done a great job merging Jamal’s character, his experiences in the slums, and life beyond. It’s also refreshing to see a film like this that doesn’t take place in America because that could have been the cheap way out for this story. As a result, the movie was very entertaining and certainly good, but I’m not sure it’s deserving of Best Picture. It’s well written, has great acting (the kids are amazing), but the overall story just seems nothing out of the ordinary. It’s possible that it got the thumbs up because all of these things just “worked” when put together.


    This Blu-ray will not disappoint. Except for the television scenes where Jamal is being challenged on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which have a bit of video noise from HD cameras do differentiate it from the rest of the film’s storytelling, the image is awesome. Clean black levels help intra-image contrast in many specific shots, such as when Latika is crouching outside in the night’s pouring rain while Jamal and Salim boys are huddled dry in their cubby hole. Detail is awesome in both wide and close shots showing the fine detail that can be delivered by Blu-ray. The DVD can not articulate this. Colours feel natural in this video presentation; they are never too aggressive or muted. There is no hiding the raunchiness of the slums: you can almost smell it! Shot with both film and HD cameras, the result is a very nice convergence of both technologies. There is no noticeable edge enhancement to artificially sharpen this image.


    The charged music soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire makes the movie fun and exciting. Beyond the music, sounds effects are more aggressive than the average mix. When they kick in, all channels are engaged during the action: running through the slums, the crowds with the landing helicopter, the millionaire talk show – all provide some ambience and a little bit more. Yet, there are other moments when the channels appear silent for a while or provide minor ambience while dialogue is the focus. Most dialogue appears as ADR, and most of it is put in the mix fairly well without sounding too forward or room dry. I used re-EQ on this title because it was a bit bright without it. The mix is 5.1 and encoded with DTS-HDMA.

    TACTILE FUN!!: 2/5

    Plenty of LFE invades this soundtrack. Music seems to be dominating here and it gives the room the extra kick it deserves. If using a bass shaker, it doesn’t feel annoying, in fact, it makes the music easy to follow along to and enhances the storytelling.


    This Blu-ray disc is packaged with the BD and a digital copy. The DVD is available separately and not combined like the Marley & Me release. I like the three disc releases since it probably doesn’t cost much more to include the DVD (I think it would cost more for dual inventory). Anyways, here are the special features included:

  • audio commentary with director Danny Boyle and Actor Dev Patel
  • audio commentary with producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy
  • deleted scenes (SD 4:3 LBX, 5.1, 33:51) – selected individually or as a whole
  • Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & the Making of Slumdog Millionaire (SD 16:9, 22:58) – with Boyle and Beaufoy discussing various aspects about the creation of film
  • Slumdog Cutdown (HD, 5:36) – a condensed version of the film to an Indian song
  • From Script to Screen: Toilet Scene (SD 16:9, 5:25) – discussion by Boyle and Beaufoy
  • Indian Short Film – Manjha (SD 4:3 LBX, 41:03
  • Bombay Liquid Dance - (SD 4:3 LBX, 3:00) – compilation of shots taken around Bombay put to music
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD)
  • European Theatrical Trailer (SD 16:9)

    IN THE END...

    The Slumdog Millionaire is good video demo material, has a good soundtrack, and a nice collection of special features. I recommend taking a look at this film and this disc for all that it is worth.

    Michael Osadciw
    April 16, 2009.

    Review System

    Michael Osadciw

    THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator

    Video Contributor

    CANADA HiFi Magazine

    #2 of 2 OFFLINE   Southpaw


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    Posted April 16 2009 - 12:44 AM

    I've already seen the movie but I want to rent it to listen to a commentary and see the special features. Did you take in either of the commentaries? I was wondering if I had to pick one to listen to, which one would it be? I'm kind of leaning towards the Danny Boyle one.

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